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Tennis on the radio means getting to the point quickly

June 29, 2007|John Scheibe | Times Staff Writer

Midnight and it's South London calling.

Radio Wimbledon is on the air at courtside from the All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club for its daily live broadcast of the Championships, available in the U.S. on Sirius Satellite Radio.

This is the third year Sirius has offered Wimbledon and the coverage has been extended from 10 to 13 hours. A Radio Wimbledon program called "Breakfast at Wimbledon," which is more like a late-night snack in Los Angeles, begins the day's coverage at midnight PT on Sirius channel 126.

The show is hosted by Nick Dye and Sam Lloyd from the FM station's studios at Wimbledon, and it offers a preview of the day's scheduled matches, and also London weather and traffic reports.

Sirius listeners can hear point-by-point broadcasts from Centre Court and on all outer courts. The screen on a Sirius unit, which is about the size of a transistor radio, also displays who is playing and the current score.

Radio Wimbledon's announcing team includes Rupert Bell, Nick Lestor, Gigi Salmon, Nigel Bidmead, Guy Swindells, Lucy Ahl and Nadine Towell.

They have to call a tennis match at a much faster, emotionally charged pace, than their television colleagues, who have the luxury of letting the point play out on camera for viewers before making a comment.

Bell's call of a first-round match between England's Tim Henman and Carlos Moya is a good example. The match was extended over two days this week because of a rain delay and then darkness, and the fifth set, won by Henman, was a marathon 13-11.

On the sixth match point, with Moya serving and the crowd at Centre Court on its feet, Bell told listeners:

"Still a chance for Henman in this game. Second serve, forehand return to Moya's backhand that floats to the backhand, Henman has to scamper back, forehand to Moya, deep backhand to Henman, Henman chips to the forehand, Moya deep to the backhand court, Henman goes across court, chip return, and Moya's out. Another match point."

Sirius Satellite will provide Radio Wimbledon's broadcasts of the men's and women's semifinal and final matches next week, plus courtside reports and highlights.

NBC begins its first of nine days at Wimbledon on Saturday at 9 a.m. Ted Robinson will anchor the network's 39th year of coverage, which culminates next weekend with the singles finals. Joining him will be John McEnroe, Mary Carillo, Bud Collins and Jimmy Roberts.

McEnroe and Carillo will have at their disposal information gathered from the "Hawkeye" ball-tracking system, which will give them, and viewers, a closer look at line calls and players' serves.

In a conference call Wednesday, McEnroe said among the points of interest for this year's event are "how the American men will hold up" after a disappointing showing at the French Open, and that for the first time both the men and women's winners will receive equal prize money.

Short waves

The top players in women's golf, including defending champion Annika Sorenstam, will be at Southern Pines, N.C., this weekend for the U.S. Women's Open. NBC's coverage, hosted by Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller, begins at noon Saturday and again Sunday.

The Arena League playoffs start today with a wild-card game on ESPN at 4 p.m. between the Orlando Predators and Philadelphia Soul. The Avengers will meet the Utah Blaze on Monday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

ESPN and ABC will televise 11 divisional and conference playoff games, culminating with the ArenaBowl July 29 at New Orleans.

Thoroughbred racing's Hollywood Gold Cup from Hollywood Park, with Lava Man bidding for his third consecutive win in the race, will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. The show will include taped coverage of the Suburban Handicap from Belmont Park. Post time for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup is approximately 4:40 p.m.

Turner Broadcasting will present the "2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show" on Sunday at 1 p.m. TBS baseball commentators Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn will be joined by host Ernie Johnson to announce the starters and reserve players for this year's All-Star game, which will be played July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Former Dodgers Ron Cey and Steve Garvey will help FSN Prime Ticket take a historic look at the Hollywood Stars Game on "Dodgers Insider" Saturday night at 10:30. The game, which started as a charity event when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn, has evolved into a long-standing relationship between Hollywood and the Dodgers.

The half-hour documentary will be rerun on Prime Ticket throughout the month of July.

Larry Stewart is on vacation.


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